Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Time to Move

I thought I'd slowly phase this blog out as I built the new website, but why not share the construction dust? :-)

Join me at

See you there!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

November Cover

I have a new cover, and it's gorgeous! The next book in my Welcome to Honesty series is called A Conflict of Interest. I'm more excited than ever to look at fall coming! :-)

Also in the middle of redoing my website. It's in the middle of transferring, and when it completes, I'll probably move the blog over to the new website. For now, I'm still having horrible Internet access problems. Some day, high speed will come to our neighborhood!

Try me at Twitter. If I can't load Blogger, I can sometimes load Twitter.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Totally forgot...

to blog yesterday. I'm so unaccustomed to being able to! :-)

Busy days. Husband w/arm in sling getting better.
Hair getting cut.
Proposals getting polished.
Clothes getting tried on.
Clothes getting packed.
Mirror getting sworn at. (Why won't it lie?)
Lots of stuff left to do!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Nightmares and Packing

Maybe they're the same thing. :-)

Tis the season for nightmares for me. I have pretty steady insomnia anyway, but when summer comes, so come the bad dreams. I don't know why, but waking with them gives me plenty of time to think and to plan--about packing.

I'm joining the annual trek to RWA's national conference. These days, it's weird to travel without the family, and I still have to decide on clothing, make sure I've jotted down all my appointments, and remind myself not to say or do too many silly things at once. Pace yourself, is my motto.

I'm way behind on things like business cards, hair-taming, nails, an outfit for each day. And oh yeah--getting used to wearing shoes.

I'm not doing the literacy signing this year, but if you're in the D.C. area at about 7 on Wednesday the 15th, check out the Wardman Marriott for all your favorite romance authors. Like all other wise readers, I'll be seeking out books by my favorite writers--and catching up with friends I haven't seen in a while. And some friends I've never actually met in person. Isn't the Internet amazing?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Almost the 4th of July

Seems like a good day to blog. We seem to have access again, though I wish the storms would come back. :-)

Happy 4th to all, especially to those who are celebrating while their loved ones are on boats or in planes or in barracks in another part of the world. I pray that soon you'll all be together again.

Big times around here. Beloved tore a tendon in his bicep so he's all splinted, recovering from surgery. Girlo has a job. Music to any graduate's ear. Son has working email. Music to his mom's eyes! :-)

I'm revising proposals and working on new stuff. Writing, writing, writing. Gotta make up time after post-surgery care for beloved.

I keep telling myself to break away and swim. Good grief, I was about to whine about not dragging myself out there because of the heat, but we're about ten degrees cooler than usual for this time of day! I'd better go haul any adventurous snakes out of the pool and take their place!

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday! And, no, girlo, you may not have the hamburgers with swiss cheese and mushrooms a day early. Tonight is fish and pasta!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Falling Behind--Satellite Anyone?

We've been having the usual satellite issues. I can't even bring up blogger at home. However, for a quick chat, come visit at Twitter.

I'm also taking Candace Havens' Fast Draft class. I'm writing like crazy on a brand new proposal even though I have two proposals to finish, but I wanted this challenge, and it's refreshing to just go with the flow instead of over-analyzing myself half to death. If you're a writer, you should try this. Especially if you've had any confidence issues. You have to produce so quickly you have no time to worry about confidence.

Normally, I wonder if I could possibly be writing well if I'm writing this fast, but this class is chasing the critical voice right out of my head! I need to post a mental "No Vacancy" sign to fool the critic into thinking it's full in there!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's Thursday!

And I have a few writing moments today. Shhhhh--don't tell anyone. Actually, I have a critique I need to do first with some work time, but I might do an hour of each.

Then I need to buy soil conditioner, some more plants for the flowerbed, a dimmer switch for the dining room--and something or a set of somethings with which to produce dinner. Then I have to set out six beautiful tomato plants our extremely kind neighbor gave us. (I'm guessing he's noticed what bad gardeners we are?)

Throw in a toilet cleaning and you've got the glam life of a writer! :-) I'd love to be a little glam. I'll bet you have to wear shoes to be glam. (So, clearly not for me!)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Stuff on Wednesday

Time for a "randomness" post.

The shoe trend: how I love shoes, and I'm feeling absolutely deprived because I will literally never be able to wear four-inch heels. But if you had to describe me by my feet, I'd come out looking like Fred Flintstone. I had to wear shoes to my daughter's graduation. Just shoes--nothing fancy. I still haven't recovered. Must practice before National this summer.

Next: I've mentioned my weakness for Another World, a "classic" soap? Suddenly, all those actors are doing commercials. All right, it's Cass, Frankie, and one of the Jamie's looking mighty delicious! :-)

When did morning news "presenters" become celebrities? In their own minds, I mean?

Why am I suddenly willing to be sarcastic on my blog? Need to stop that. Not nice.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

No-need-to-talk Tuesday

You know when you're out of sorts and you can't find something pleasant to say, it might be time to do as Grandma suggested: If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. I kind of thought that was going to be my plan.

But I can talk about the weather. It's nice and cool. Unexpectedly, unbelievably cool. Only 45 degrees, and the house is even a little chilly. We'd already reached the stage of tropical despair some folks celebrate as summer. I really need to move to the tundra because last night as I walked, even the sun seemed slanted in that end-of-summer light. I had to caution myself to remember fall was not arriving. But I was a little excited anyway! :-)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bittersweet Monday

Wow. Almost a month has passed since I last blogged. What a month it's been.

Our daughter graduated from college with a B.S. in Nursing. That doesn't tell you everything. She's escaped the roommates from hell. She won another clinical award for her compassion and nurturing care of patients and their families. She finished a mountain of tests and papers, and shared a research project award. She walked on Saturday, with a big grin on her lovely face, despite enduring the heinous roommates, the exhausting work, the fact that she was torn between visiting family and the fun of the last week of undergraduate college, and the need to finish moving out of the dorm.

I'm so proud of her I could bust, and yet, I'm also a little sad. She's moving on now, and it's what she's supposed to do. She's independent and intelligent and she's eager to make her own way.

I'm a little sad because she won't always be down the hall in her room, and she won't always ask me if I want to go read in the comfy chairs at B&N, and simply--she won't live under our roof any more.

Our roof is going to feel pretty empty.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday--Doin' my homework!

When I was a girl, my aunts and cousin could all knit, but I could only crochet. Knitting looked so confusing that I never ventured to do it. I love crocheting, and I made up patterns to make clothes for my Barbie (when she wasn't shooting the rapids--storm-swollen streams in our share of the Tennessee woods)with GI Joe. I also made up a pattern for a cool (read dramatic) sweater with a pointy hood and bell sleeves. Very monk-like, perfect for the teenage girl I was at the time! :-)

I still love crocheting, but I'm not afraid of knitting now. A few weeks ago, I was wandering the square in town with a friend, and we stumbled across a new shop devoted to all things knitting. They had a note in the front window advertising classes so I darted inside before I could change my mind and decide I didn't have time to finally learn to knit.

Might have been a mistake. After two Monday nights of making new friends and laughing through a two-hour class and dreaming of all the lovely new things I can make out of beautiful yarns (fiber, the truly adept seem to call it), I only have time to knit!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Finally, the rowboats and puppies have stopped flying past our windows. Which means the satellite's working again. Yay!

Critiquing for my buddy today. I feel so lucky that I get to read her books before they go out into the world. Karen Whiddon's a great writer, and I'm delighting in the latest Pack story. Karen's comments always improve my work--and I think reading for her also improves me because I hope I write as well as she does. So many people in this business say we're in the field of storytelling, and I'm afraid I often wonder, what does that mean? But, as I'm admiring the new twists Karen's taking, I find myself thinking, she's a storyteller.

The cool thing about paranormal is the excellent freedom to create your own world. My stories are more family and realism-oriented so when I read a paranormal, I get the joy of wondering--how did she come up with that? And the more casual an author's tone is, the better I like it. It was what I loved best about Harry Potter. I was reading from Harry's point of view--learning about the magical world, but my favorite moments were Harry's excitement at facets of magical life that the other characters took for granted. And then--Arthur Weasley's fascination with all things muggle.

I guess a different life is always seductive.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Do you write in...


To music?

To some other form of background noise?

At first I had to have silence--or at least only the background noise of my family playing and chatting and sometimes arguing--often laughing. Then, I moved on to music. I wrote to movie soundtracks. Anything by James Horner. That man stirs my soul. Seriously. A writer should be embarrassed to write such possibly trite words, but those words are absolutely true. I put on the soundtrack to Glory whenever I want to believe I can be better than I am.

I also loved the Out of Africa and Green Card soundtracks. In fact, I just added the Green Card tracks to my writing playlist. (Back to that in a moment.)

From soundtracks, I moved on to the news channels on TV. I needed voices, but I am a multitasker. If I hear conversation I haven't heard before I have to pay attention while I write. So, I went for movies I've seen a billion times. The comfort of both voices and the familiar.

Inevitably, that kind of wore out, too. :-) Lately, I'm running on a mixture of all my favorite sounds. Depending upon mood, I put in a well-watched DVD or I turn on a rerun on the History Channel (who can live without the History Channel?) Or I glom on to the iPod.

I noticed my iTunes writing playlist is growing lately. I went through a Phil Collins period. His voice just really works for me, and I love the 80s music of my youth! :-)

Anyway, I don't seem to be looking for a mood or a tone these days. The playlist includes Billie Holiday, Simon and Garfunkle, Kanye West, Ne-Yo, the Eagles, Don Henley (by himself), Sting, the Police, Duffy, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Toto, John Mayer--and I recently had to move Chris Brown off. Marvin Gaye is always on there, as are Louis Prima and ohhhhh, Nat King Cole! But I've added the most beautiful piece of music, ever. Meditation on Thais by Massenet. I can't listen to it very often, because I cannot pay attention to anything else when I'm hearing it.

Isn't it amazing how some pieces of music feel as if they were written just to make you feel?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

For fun and a good book...

stuffed with six paranormal shorts, visit Karen Whiddon's blog, and enter the Midnight Cravings contest.

These are great stories under a gorgeous cover!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Meeting friends for lunch today. Writing friends, so we'll catch up on everyone's work and goals. We also like to share any new writing "learnings," (as we used to say in my more corporate job).

In this case it works. I've definitely learned that thing about getting to the point. I was trying to figure out how many words I cut from my revision. Part of the cutting was due to a plot thread that didn't work. (Note to Self: If you can cut without any other editing, it never worked, because a thread is also a braid, and I didn't have to unbraid much on this thread.)

Part of the cutting was just--does anyone ever need to see some configuration of these words again? Repetition and I were close friends, pre-revision.

And part was just--what the heck?

So, I cut about 20,000 words in all. And the good news is, it didn't come up short. It's about the same length as before, because that tricky plot point that I talked over with my editor gave me meat for the conflict, and the story grew when the conflict was right. I had a hard time writing this book first time around. It was the start of my crisis of confidence, but when the conflict was right, the story just felt right. It's that "feel" that I haven't been able to get for the past year or so.

But that's a learning I can't pass on to my friends because first, I don't want to see them in the same spot I've been, worrying over every word, every turn of plot, every piece of characterization. Second, it's almost like wishing my bad Karma on someone else to bring it up. And last, if I could intimate what that feeling is, I probably wound have found my way back to it before now.

I will say, though I've been groping in the dark on these proposals I'm polishing, they feel pretty right, too. So, despite the crisis and no confidence, I kept writing and the stories are there.

Oh--a learning--don't give up! Sounds trite, but even when you're fighting yourself, don't stop. This year, for the first time in my life, I looked giving up on writing in the eye. It wasn't working--I was plying word after word that didn't work--and I had to keep starting over because I just couldn't wrestle even these proposals into a workable story. There are 24 files in one proposal folder, and 23 in the other. That means I've tried that many times to get a chapter and a synopsis on each idea.

So, this is what I've learned. Don't give up.

That works in any job. But isn't it easier advised than done?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Things You Learn in Class

Like getting to the point.

I'm giving the neverending proposals a final polish, but at the same time, I'm distilling them through the excellent information I'm garnering from the Discovering Story Magic class. There are grids to fill out that help when you're putting the story together. (I love filling out grids. I get why writers are attracted to new pens, fresh paper, stationery in general, but why do we all love a nice, unmarked form?)

Anyway, there I was rambling away in my attempt to fill out this grid. (There it is, over on the right!) I went back to the lecture post to see what came next, and the instructor offered her grid info. One line. One line? This is why I'm forced to cull. I never feel I've covered a subject until I've anviled the reader over the head.

Fortunately, it's a flaw I know well, so I'm trying to rein it in. My previous editor would just write "clarity" in the margin and I knew that meant to stop whirling all around the point and get to it. Which is, frankly, easier said than done!

But, it's Monday in a whole new week, and I'm almost finished with polishing the first proposal. I hope the next one is as much fun to work with as this one has turned out to be.

And I hope your work is as joyful as mine feels right now.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Storms in the area today so I'd better post early. Actually, I'm writing this by lightning, and I woke because of thunder (and a nervous Kitty who felt his fear of storms might be relieved by the application of kibble). So, I'd better post fast!

Post-deadline, I'm catching up on life. I've cleaned the house--a bit. It needs more.

My friend called to ask if I was celebrating on Tuesday because she knew I was sending the book; I celebrated big time. Stopped at the grocery store because we literally had nothing to eat in the house.

Yesterday, I had to buy a dress for a dinner with the beloved. I hate to shop, but Belk is having an amazing sale. I enjoyed shopping--an out-of-body experience, which I'm still not sure was my own!

I've tidied the book files, updated backups, started a Dear Reader letter and a dedication.

Today, I have to pick up this month's Kitty meds. Not necessarily a moment in the writing life, but I need to keep reminding myself! Still suffering deadline dementia-induced thought-scatter. And who hasn't suffered from that? :-) No matter what the job, we all have deadlines that sap the brain strength!

I'm also culling email. What a mess. Writers live so much in their own worlds that many of us belong to email loops, which can be like stopping to chat with our work-buddies in the surrounding cubicles. At deadline times, all that email stacks up. Plus, I have an email address that I don't really use any more due to our Internet access troubles/options. When I'm expecting something that doesn't show up, eventually I realize it's time to visit that address. And--even though I don't use it, there were 254 emails to sort (that included the info I missed).

Finally, I like to catch up on education as I'm finishing deadlines/starting new projects. I mentioned Discovering Story Magic. That class starts today, and I'm also reading Blake Snyder's Save the Cat. I'm loving STC. Can't wait for the first Story Magic lecture. (Oh, no. That'll come by email.)

Yikes--big thunder--better post.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hello, Internet? Bye-bye, Deadline!

With rain, we lose access, but that's okay. We need rain.

However, I had a post all posted when the satellite ducked and covered. (Or whatever process it follows when it doesn't work.)

Anyway, enough bellyaching re: technology vs. nature. I finished my revision and met my deadline. Yay!

Now it's time to set some goals and meet them. I must finish the proposals I've been tweaking for months. Literally. Months. What working writer does that? Those babies are going out of here. I'll allow one week to polish each, but that's it. Which does not mean they're going out unready to be seen by my editor's eye. It means I'm going to make them eye-ready. (Have you noticed how meeting a deadline makes a struggling-for-a-year writer arrogant?)

Then, while I wait for line edits on A Conflict of Interest and answers on the proposals, I'm starting two new projects, both in areas I haven't attempted before. I'm excited. I used to have this skill for multitasking which I took for granted. I have a feeling I'll have to coax it back into being with a timer and a friend to crack the whip, but maybe I can be my own friend. I met my deadline!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday and Tuesday

These are the last days of my revision, and I'm heads down, hunkered over the pages. Probably won't be back until Wednesday.

Every time I have to shut up and submit, I reach this moment of how-do-I-know-if-it's-right? The pieces seem to fit and I have a sense of peace with them--unless I begin to over-think. I have one last element to shape and reshape before I can send the revision, but the ending seems to fit the rest of the story as if it has grown organically to be this way. (Thanks to my editor, who was willing to chat with me as I brainstormed at her on this very important plot point.)

So--enough chitchat here--gotta embrace the homestretch! :-)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Normal Service Suspended

That should be tattooed on my forehead. I can't think about what we need in the fridge. I can't remember if we have potting soil in the garage. I can't remember to buy laundry detergent when I run into the store to buy grapes because that ice cream sandwich fixation needed to stop....

I can remember that Jake's conversation with Tom needs to bring him insight about Maria's method of treating... You get the picture. Right now that conversation is hanging out there, sort of alluding to what the story needs, but not bringing home the plot bacon.

Mmmmmm. I love bacon.

The thing I like about this story is that the hero and heroine are together a lot, and their reasons for being together are as honest as their reasons for being apart. Writing a romance is writing the dance of internal conflict. Why they should... why they shouldn't... why wanting is enough... why it can't ever be enough.

Oh, an example--today, Still of the Night is going to be on TMC. (It's frustratingly unavailable on DVD.) Roy Scheider and Meryl Streep. A thriller with an undercurrent of romance. When they meet, the attraction is instant and intense. But there's a murder and suspicion, and they still keep coming together. Even as he wants to prove she's not guilty, he's stacking up evidence against her. Even as she turns to him, she sees he's turning her into a murderess, and is she trying to kill him? All of that is just an external echo of their real conflict--how to trust each other enough to let love happen.

The sense of need between these characters. Need, walled-up behind emotional barriers. Did I mention a movie-holic can't get it on DVD?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Big Day for Romance

Yesterday was a huge day for writers who belong to the Romance Writers of America (RWA). Visit the website to see a list of nominees for the Golden Heart (unpublished) and Rita (published) awards. Even if you don't know some of the writers, you'll find an amazing reading list!

Deepest congratulations to all the nominees! I hope all the Golden Heart nominees sell those well-written mss. And I wish all the Rita noms could win. You all need golden ladies!

Gotta be brief today. That deadline is screaming down the tunnel like a train!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More Random Ramblings

Why do we make sure there's more light at night when children have to go to school at deep-dark-o'thirty in the a.m.? I don't really care if the guy down the street has the opportunity to mow his lawn (or in our neighborhood, whip up a dust storm) at seven at night, but I'm uncomfortable thinking of children standing in the dark, waiting for a bus.

Why isn't Willie Geist (wish I could open another window with my Internet access to make sure of the spelling) hosting Morning Joe full-time? He's the best part of that program.

When you're on deadline, why doesn't the house clean itself and produce healthy meals? (Subsisting on ice cream sandwiches here.)

Why do I sound so cranky? (Hope it's not to do with those ice cream sandwiches!)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Work, Work, Work

I fell asleep over the laptop last night. That's a strange feeling. I'm just glad I didn't add all the crazy letters that can happen on such unfortunate occasions. All the crazy letters that are there--I meant to add! (Grammar is suffering. Sad.)

However, I'm looking forward to some other work. In April I'm taking a class from RWA's Kiss of Death Chapter. They offer a couple of workshops every month, one on craft and one more focused on writing mystery and suspense. The workshops are seriously affordable. I'm doing Discovering Story Magic, and excited about it. I've heard only great things from others who've taken it--and I'm planning to discover as much magic as I possibly can!

Happy Tuesday! Back to them revisions!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Lost Weekend

Not the movie. I'm talking work again. Though I did get some done this weekend, we just had other stuff going on around here. I always tell my girl that she has to focus on the important stuff, not let distressing things get the better of her. Well, I should have managed to take my own advice. My problem was sheer distraction.

Must keep eye firmly on the ball this week. The girl has some study today so she and I are eventually heading to the coffee shop where the noise level is perfect background.

Normally, after struggling, I whine to myself about oh, my problems. Well, the truth is, I don't have any. After seeing the girl come home from precepting, with the weekend on her face, I don't know what she's encountered in her hospital hours, but I realize I just need to buckle down in my rather rosy life and be grateful that whatever has happened to people she's been helping to treat, is not happening around our safe and cozy abode.

So, I'm hunkering down, and I am going to be grateful, rather than whinging. How lucky am I to have a job I love and to live with people who love me as much as I love them? We're all safe and perky, and distraction is nothing compared to actual troubles.

Wishing you a contented Monday.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday--Revising my own blah, blah, blah

I was having such a good time with this revision. Then I came to my own wordiness. Culling the "what the ?*&% was I thinking" moments is never the best part of revising. Sometimes it's a moment I wanted so badly to get perfect that I wrote all around it instead. You know--that horrible crisis of confidence thing where you know you can't get it out the way it sounds and feels in your head? Uh-huh. I've been working since about six this morning and I've cut about two pages of that.

Forty-seven minutes after starting this expedition through numbing blah, blah, blah, I'm wondering what the ?*&% was I thinking? And also, I'm so grateful we get to revise.

No one will ever see that stuff. What a relief! Don't you wish you could revise certain moments in real life, too?

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Revising. I'm trying to make every word count, trying to choose the details that emphasize emotion. It's difficult to choose the words that find the fine balance between wrenching and mawkish. Sometimes, I'm not sure which side of the line I'm falling on, but I've decided that maybe my editor will know when she's doing the line edit. :-) I want to make the ms. as perfect as possible so that mistakes are less prevalent in the line edit--when someone else types changes into the pages. But truthfully, that's another stage of shaping the story. So, instead of doubting myself, I'm leaving in moments I might have edited out before because this book is about letting the reader share in the hero and heroine's delight.

(I heard Richard Harris saying "Delight" in Camelot in my head as I wrote that. He understood emphasis!)

Gotta go!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday--Almost Spring

How the days and the months fly past. We're in serious spring mode around here. Allergy migraines and crocuses. The pool cover falling to tatters.

But this year, we've had rain. We can plant stuff. When I was younger, spring popped into our neighborhood with my aunt's purple and yellow and orange crocuses. I could plant some of those--although I think they're bulbs and they're supposed to be planted in the fall. Wonder why gardens fare badly under my thumb o'death?

We have another problem in our flowerbeds. The kids in our neighborhood apparently consider them second base in the kickball games they've been playing since the weather began to warm. We've had neighbor issues before. One neighbor posted our land so that apparently only he can hunt on it. Kids breaking into the pool, making ATV paths through our woods, starting a bonfire in our yard during a burn ban and the worst drought in our state's history. The smallest lot in the neighborhood is two acres. It's not as if we actually do have the only grass available for burning or churning into dust.

We had a new survey done and put locks on the pool gates and had serious words with the parents, but I still kind of dread the summer building plan. And I'd love it if the teens stopped running out of the cul-de-sac into our flowerbeds.

It's tempting fate, but I'm going to plant as soon as I finish this revision. I may have to sit out there like my own garden gnome and protect the beds, but oh, for some color! For lovely flowers painting the summer outside my office windows. And I love planting some edibles amongst the pretty stuff. Nothing on earth is as tasty as a tomato fresh out of the sun, nestling in lettuce just cut from the bed.

And, should they all be ground beneath teenage boy's feet, I guess I could learn how to pick up the pieces and make pot pourri!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday at the Blog

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I come from a place where it's a big old celebration, but I tend to forget it's happening now until suddenly everything's green, and shamrock-laden. We have two pubs on the square, but one of them is just a bit out of commission right now because an 86-year-old woman drove through the windows. I won't be mocking, though, cause one day that could be me. And the dh and the children already drive that badly. It's a bad driving gene. I stopped letting my beloved mother-in-law drive with our baby son in the car when her performance terrified me--and I blamed it on her age. Many years later, I realize she was only 59. It was the Adams driving gene, hard at work!

After several days of rain, the sun has returned, meaning a good walk could be had. A couple of weeks ago, I strained my back, and I actually loathe feeling bad so I think I pushed myself to feel better too soon. My back is now busy wreaking vengeance. I intend to treat it with more respect for a week or so. I'm already dreading my return to walking. No stamina left. No willpower to grind out those exciting miles. :-)

Because I'm still buried in the end of revision--knitting everything back together--I'm a bit distracted, so I fear my posts are going to be somewhat scattershot in content for the next little while.

St. Patrick's Day, bad driving, rain, sun, walking, hate to walk.

I guess you get the picture.

Friday, March 13, 2009


One of my offspring has a birthday soon, and we've found the perfect gift. I cannot wait. The hardest thing about giving a gift is waiting!

What are you doing this Friday? I'm longing for a visit home to see my aunts and uncle and cousins. And the old homeplace. :-)

However, my revisions have been fighting back. We're in a grip now where they're pulling and I'm tugging, and the balance is fragile. One of us gains a little strength, and the whole works could collapse. So I guess I'd better hang on here and get this stuff done.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Friday, especially my baby who never reads this blog, but is taking a vital exam today. She'll be brilliant, but I'm still gnawing the nails on her behalf.

Oh--in case any of you look forward to Suzanne McMinn's blog every day the way I do, visit Chickens in the Road to see info on her newest release. I'd do a link, but our Internet access is so slow today that I can't bring up two pages at a time to get the address. There's a link to the blog in my favorite blog list, and you can page back to see her gorgeous new cover with a link to buy. If you pause to read today's post on her goat, Clover's return to the farm, you'll have a happy weep, too.

Which starts anyone off with a great Friday! :-)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Random Ramblings

Only someone rather full of herself would publish her ramblings.

Our Internet access is so bad, the blog page took three minutes to load. I gave up three times before I let it go.

Happiness=Soft Scrub Scrubby pads. My sinks have rarely been so shiny and pretty. (How do you spell procrastinate?)

A woman on television just said she asked the Ghost Hunters in to prove her beau was not possessed. I don't mean to mock, but that seems like a question that wouldn't come up too often in a relationship. That said, I wonder if the beloved...

The Kitty and I are in love with a new concealer. I love it because it's actually concealing without creating wrinkles in the Grand Canyon motif. Kitty professes his love for any object that comes into the house covered in hard plastic wrapping. That's a twofer!

Time to go. Meeting buddies for lunch at the pizza place I mentioned in the almost-movie post below. I'm going to possess a monster slice of pepperoni and a salad. Wish you could all partake, too! Much more enjoyable than random ramblings! :-)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Flyby Wednesday

Errands yesterday took longer than I expected so I didn't have the wallowing time I love best at this stage of writing. Everything else in the world has to go hang, and I paddle around in the words. (You'd be surprised how little my non-writing family understands this part of the process.)

This time I'm trying to keep one other thing in control. I've been walking for nearly five months. I'm at three miles a day, and even in the recent heat, I don't want to break the habit. Last night, in an attempt to beat the effect of those climbing temps, my friend and I started out at 7, which was fine, but I usually do a couple of laps around the neighborhood after my buddy stops. Last night we stood chatting at her mailbox (did I mention I have an unfortunate gift for gab?), too long. Midway through my second lap, a bat started circling my head. Now I don't live in Transylvania, and I didn't look for Dracula to suddenly flutter to the ground in front of me, but you know--rabies.

So, as the bat seemed to be cutting his circles with every lap around my head, I covered my neck. I know, I know, but it was some crazy instinct I couldn't control. And I hustled home to put a house between me and the rat with wings.

Apologies to all who love bats.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Our Walking Buddy

Sometime today I have to pack up the girlo's suit and my laptop and head out into the world. The girl needs said suit for practice interviews and I need to get out of this house. I love the abode, but if I don't depart once in a while, I turn into a homebody who's perfectly happy never to venture anywhere else.

I also tend to hide out when I'm sad. When we moved here, we managed to find friends whom clearly we have been waiting to find all our lives. In fact, it feels as if we have known each other forever. Let's be honest. My beloved husband has found the clone from whom he was somehow separated, and I have too much fun talking waaaayyyyyy too much to the wife in the couple as we walk our neighborhood, seeking health. (She may actually be trying to outrun me as I yammer and yammer and yes, gab--just a bit more!)

But we had another walking buddy. Her name was Missy, and Missy was the sweetest little doggie in the world. She left her family on Saturday. So, her person and I are walking alone in a neighborhood that feels pretty empty. I miss you, Missy.

Monday, March 9, 2009

New Title for November

I mentioned it below, but I have a new title for the book that's coming in November. A Conflict of Interest really suits the story--a judge and a psychologist who've been fighting their attraction suddenly find themselves at true odds over her testimony in a case he's hearing.

(Why was that so easy? You wouldn't believe how I wrestled the one-page synopsis for the Art Facts Sheet.)

I'm still enjoying the revisions on this book, and I'd better update the sidebar with the new title and get back to making this story right.

But first--I finished my Rita books; found some excellent new authors--that's the best thing about Rita judging. Gotta report the scores.

And--thank goodness for DVRs. I have a deep and abiding love for "vintage," or is that retrospective, movies? Today is Dr. Kildare day on TCM. I also have white-jacket syndrome. I panic when I hear the word, doctor. My daughter can't tell me much about her workdays, but I love Dr. Kildare. For one thing, sometimes the medicine is bewildering. (I can never spell medicine correctly first try--is there a syndrome for that, too?) But I think I'm mesmerized by the stories. Either way, the DVR will be busy till about 7 tonight so I'd better get some good page count.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Just a random photo of my shadow on the beach.

My head is so full of revisions, anything extra feels sort of haphazard. Like--wow, when did the house get so mussed? Oh, look at the pretty clouds. It isn't sunny today? And--did anyone know we were going from snow to summer in the space of seven days? Have I been buried in back spasms and A Conflict of Interest for longer than I think?

Enough stream of semi-consciousness.

But I do have advice for any aspiring romance author today. Hie thee to Kate Walker's blog, where you'll find an excellent post on writing emotion into your story. One day I'd love to attend one of Kate's courses in person!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Brush with Movie Stardom

All right, not really anything as close as a brush! :-) The girl and I went to dinner on the square last night only to find a movie company setting up inside the best pizza spot in our little town. (The girl immediately called a person she knows who's looking for work as a camera operator. Ya gotta feel for a person looking for creative work in this economy!)

Then, off to queso and chips and other yummy dinner goodies for us. When we came out, a guy was wandering the square in a headset. As we were trying to decide whether it's rude to buttonhole a movie guy doing his work and interrogate him re: what's goin' on, he came up and asked us if we wanted to be extras. I must admit I wanted to see how a movie scene is filmed. The girl is in the middle of tests and precepting, and she didn't care to spend those hours in service of her mother's curiosity, so we moseyed home.

I hope we're suddenly becoming a movie mecca! ;-)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Broke the Habit

Of blogging.

I have a plethora of excuses: the usual Internet going down in weather--rain, thunder, lightening, hail, tornadoes--and eventually four inches of snow! The above is the view from my office window just after the snow started sticking. I love snow. Did I mention that? Love snow.

I've also been working on Art Fact Sheets, the suggestions authors make for cover art. The nightmare of the one-page synopsis.

And, finally, my dorky reason for not being at the blog, I managed to pull every muscle in my back--by sitting in a recliner we've had for six years. I'm so proud.

So, today, I'm propped on every pillow we own on my bed, working revisions! Back to those cranky pages! Resistance is, as they say, futile. :-)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Leverage is over?/Makin' Titles!

I can't believe it's over till summer. Not much makes me look forward to summer ;-) but maybe this does. Also, did everyone except me know that Monk is coming to an end? My heart breaks!

So--change of subject--I had to give my editor title suggestions for my November book. People in this world have talents, and I guess I can write, but let me just confess here and now, my name is Anna Adams and I stink at titles. Here are the suggestions I sent--at about 12:45 a.m.:

Bad Judgement, Perfect Lover
Her Secret Love
The Man She Wants
The Man She Wanted
The Man She Always Wanted
Hiding Her Love
The Man She Couldn't Have
Keeping Secrets
Secret Love
Only One Man
Only One Woman
The Only Man for Maria
The Wrong Man for Maria
Maria's Mixed Up
Maria, Starting Over
Starting Over with Jake
Starting Over with Maria

It's a modified list. I thought of more as I copied these from Stickies into email. I thought of another as I was falling asleep. No doubt it was the most brilliant title ever imagined, because I cannot remember it now--not even a hint of it.

Don't you feel bad for my editor? :-)

Better get back to the story. I've gotta make sure it's good enough to persuade her to forgive me for not being stellar at titles.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I have two weather "deliverers" on my laptop. They never forecast the same temps for our town. I always assume one is right and one is wrong, but I'm not a walking thermometer--I assume the temps I like better are correct.

Writing is sort of like that. I see choices. My characters can make choices that mean different outcomes, and I choose the one I like best. Sometimes what I like best is wrong. I never mind being wrong in real life, but a fictional bad choice really annoys me. And the thing is, when I choose wrong, I'm just as certain as when I choose right. (Pardon the grammar.)

Knowing that certainty is uncertain is unsettling. You know? :-)

Monday, February 23, 2009

I love the lemonade!

Julie Cohen passed along the Lemonade award. One of the greatest life skills you can cultivate is the ability to make lemonade! So, I'm passing it along to my favorite lemony refreshment makers!

Karen Whiddon

Debby Giusti
Suzanne McMinn
JoAnn Ross
Kate Walker
Elaine Williams
Kimberly Dean
Stephanie Bond
The Soapbox Queens, Vicki, Rhonda, and Jennifer
Melinda Curtis

While I run back to work, I hope you'll take a little lemonade cruise around the Internet.

Happy Monday to all!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday, Revising

It's Friday; it's cold; I'm revising. I like all of that. It should always be Friday, always be cold, and revisions should always be fun (albeit difficult) work. I love to write new stuff as well, but revising an existing story, suddenly seeing opportunities to deepen the emotion, trying to read my work as if I'm a reader who doesn't know what I know about it--I love this process.

Last night, I saw the movie, Push. I've had some disappointing movie experiences lately that have brought home the importance of story. One, in particular, would have been a great movie with just a hint here and there of the "why." Can it be a good thing when you're editing a movie in your head to open up opportunities for background and characterization?

Anyway, I really enjoyed Push. Loved the characters; loved the uncertainty; loved the ending.

And today, I clearly love the magical semicolon! ;;;;;

Must get back to digging ever deeper in my own book for some more story!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bringing Sustenance in Words

I don't love cooking, but I do love pretty much any program about it. I'd leave hearth and home if Jacques Pepin beckoned. I truly believe that anything he cooks is probably a little hint of heaven. Somehow, the way he talks about his food translates to an actual, sensual experience for me. And though I love JP best, there are others who convince me. The judges on Top Chef, The Barefoot Contessa, the Take Home Chef, Tyler, Giada, Nigella... (See, they're my first-name heroes!) I believe what they say about their cooking, and I feel pretty sure I've tasted the food they bring me in words, because of their passion for what they're doing.

Since I'm such a lousy cook, I really never thought about the nuances they get. I mean, if the firemen don't join us at the remains of our table, I consider that a successful jaunt in the kitchen. But their passion is a lesson to me. I've actually been trying to cook in the past few years--not just keep the fires down, and though I'm totally not first-name friends with my spice cabinet, their passion has convinced me.

I want to approach every word in my work with that same passion. I'm really writing this post because I'm so wound up in last night's Top Chef. Close your eyes if you haven't watched it yet--Fabio? Really? I'm not going to recover my equanimity soon! Fabio?

But one of the things I love about that show is the way the chefs are always cooking for each other. They may be thinking who's-on-first in the TC kitchen, but back in their abode, they're making meals for each other. Around here, a meal is a special gift. Even the person in our family who loves to cook, doesn't any more, so actual thought and shopping for ingredients and putting them together is something more precious than Valentine's chocolates (I'm not bitter--he made fried potatoes--if you haven't had them, you cannot know).

Anyway, I'm aiming for the same kind of care and reflection on my work. Each addition of spice and ingredient needs to be fresh. I want to add every element with awareness of how it will affect the reader's palate. And I want to be thinking about that, not just at the well-set table when I'm on the verge of presenting a finished product for my editor, but each day, when I'm whipping up a scene that's the smallest morsel.

Every visit to the kitchen matters.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Where would you be today?

If you could be anywhere?

I'd need to travel some in time as well as distance. I'd be on the beach in front of my childhood home. I'd have to travel because that beach no longer looks like it did on one of my favorite days. You'll have to edit this image above--just a little.

It's December, late, late in the day. A storm is coming in off swirling, black and blue clouds. I'm walking on a wooden jetty that smells like a tarred telephone pole. Balancing--toppling a little to the east, a little to the west--with the unrelenting, freshening breeze. My hair is stinging my face, the salt and the sea are a mist around my head and my hands. I'm warm in that faded, hand-me-down pink zip-up sweatshirt I wore until my wrists stuck out of it by about three inches.

That was one of the first days I can remember thinking--this is my place in life--my place on earth. It still is, but only when I go back in memory. Luxuriant memory.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Are people scintillating every day in a blog?

I am not. I should beg my writing buddies to join me and take part of the load, but seriously--how reliable am I? And I wouldn't want to let anyone else down.

Anyway, I'm not feeling brilliant so I'm not going to hang around and ramble. Maybe this is a good sign. Usually, I'm pretty boring in conversation when the writing is going well.

So--if you see me coming today--veer off and cover your face in the hope I won't buttonhole you for a chat!

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Writer's Panic

How do you handle technology at your house? Around here, we each have a laptop, and we have one desktop--a slow-as-an-ice-floe, seven-year-old desktop--whose only real function is to run the router that delivers wireless to the laptops.

My laptop suffered a wound on Saturday. The surface, where the heels of my hands rest when I'm typing, lost a sliver of itself. It was right at the edge, but it left a little opening to the innards, and you know--dust. Then the beloved noticed that the same surface was curling away from the case at the top of the laptop at the hinge where the screen opens away from the keyboard.

So--I was off to the Apple store yesterday--where apparently, you must have a tech support reservation to receive the news that yes, the case breaking is a problem. And the next open reservation came three hours after my arrival at the store. Thank goodness for tables in a mall where I risked dust while I worked on said poor injured laptop.

And now, it's all healed. The nice tech support man replaced the broken piece. I wonder if he also had to replace the keyboard as the touch of the keys feels slightly different, and the button on the new touchpad is all stiff again. And it's clean. I'm apparently free with the ink stains, but the nice tech support man also told me all about Magic Erasers! (From Mr. Clean) I worship the Magic Eraser anyway, and am not surprised to find it has one more magical use!

That's my possibly boring--but vitally interesting to me--tale of technology woe. I'm thinking we need to maybe update our desktop because working on it is a jaunt through the land o'frustration. Unless you blindfold yourself, it's distracting to have sentences appear on screen at least thirty seconds after you type them.

Wishing all writers (and computer junkies) everywhere the best of the technology they love best!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Try a romance!

Harlequin is celebrating sixty years of romance in 2009, and they're sharing a free book from each of their lines with readers. You can download one or all at the Harlequin Celebrates site.

I read my first Harlequin, a Romance, set in a coastal town in Canada. I can't remember everything about it, but a scene where the heroine ran down a wooden staircase to the beach and ended up in the hero's arms--well, clearly I haven't forgotten that. My grandma gave me that book. Before that I'd only read the classics or history or mystery, until Grandma also introduced me to Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt. As I read that first romance, I kept waiting for a body to fall. But how cool--this book was all about the relationship between this man and woman who were as real to me as if I were seeing them, instead of just reading them on pages.

I've never stopped reading everything else, but I love a romance! The hero and heroine come alive, and I can't believe they're going to end up together. I can't wait for their every scene together, for the pinch of increased tension and the relief when they find common ground. From that first book, I moved on to Presents--I waited for those to come out each month. In college, after analyzing lit all semester, I'd rush to the book store for a break filled with romance. I remember when American started, and SuperRomance. Then the lovely little red books, Desire, and eventually Blaze showed up.

I'm still amazed that I get to write for Harlequin. The day my book appeared on the Mills and Boon site on the same page as a Betty Neels release--amazing, surreal day! I took a screen shot that follows me from laptop to new laptop.

You should definitely try one!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kitty makes his will known

Here's our kitty suggesting it's too early for my brother-in-law to leave. It's not that Kitty and the bil love each other desperately--unless Kitty shows his love by sounding like a tire with a leak. He just doesn't love to see anyone go. I don't know if he considers another pair of hands might mean a delightfully unexpected portion of food, or he just doesn't want to hang about his abode on his own.

Or maybe my bil fulfills another of Kitty's requirements--well, I don't like to suggest his luggage might offer a saucy aroma. So I'm going to assume Kitty loves bil, and does not want him to leave.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A simple click...

And you can give a lifesaving test to a woman who needs it. I'm sure you've probably all heard of this site, but I actually like to be reminded, so... I've set up an email to remind myself every day. Click the pink button at The Breast Cancer site to give a free test to a woman in need. And the cool thing is that there are other sites on tabs around it. You can help with childhood hunger, health, and literacy, as well as animal rescue if you don't wear out your clicking finger.

I was going to whine about my lousy Internet access taking time to process clicks, but you know I don't do that any more! :-)

And, in other news, you know when you have a song in your head and it won't go away? "All the single ladies..." Not exactly romance writin' inspiration! :-)

Better go replace it with something else!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Morning Shows

When did these folks start considering themselves celebrities? I used to be a news junkie. Now I get so annoyed at the talking heads, who are a lot more interested in their own views than in disseminating information that I've begun reading news off the Internet.

I miss Tim Russert. He never seemed to put scoring points over extracting information. He might even lead a guest toward a big old hole, but I never got the sense he then danced around it, going "gotcha, gotcha!"

It feels like a sign of our times. I love sarcasm and wit, but not when it's at someone else's expense. It takes a lot more wit to be funny without being harsh and hard, but blogging and filling up 24 hours of so-called news service appears to have made the latter a popular sport.

So, I'm gonna go check in on my favorite blog, Chickens in the Road, where you can always find something delicious to cook or a farming adventure from a romance writer's point of view. Suzanne makes me want to move to West Virginia. At the very least, I need a giant puppy! (Don't tell my giant cat. I can't stay awake all the time, and he can be a touch spiteful!) You should check out the farm goings-on, too!

And then, I'm off to write, because I have ideas. Ideas! And a longing to work. This is a lovely, lovely day. (Who does not love to love to work?)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thursday--It's a Grind

Not really. That's just the name of today's coffee shop. I tried to take a photo of my cup of white chocolate hot chocolate (yummo) and my iPod named Hector (courtesy of girl) because they and the fireplace are my writing friends today.

However, the hot beverage and the fireplace must be popular today because someone came up and wanted one of the other chairs in front of the fireplace. He probably doesn't want me taking photos of his shoes so I'm not going to try to capture a more "artly" photo.

I'm listening to Simon and Garfunkel, and the song that's playing right now is "7 O'Clock News/Silent Night." I've never heard it before and it's a bit astounding.

Gotta work.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Is it good for the soul, or is it whining?

I'm not going to go on about this, but for the past year, I've been working, working, working, and not getting much that's keepable. I show up at the laptop, and I put down words, but they don't really make sense in the way writing used to make sense to me. I don't know how this has happened. I'm assuming it's a writing mid-life crisis of some sort. And I'm not giving up.

To keep from losing my mind because my job is so frustrating, I have started walking every day. As I was walking last night in a t-shirt, two sweatshirts, a scarf, mittens, and 30-something degree weather with wind whipping at gusts of 25-35 (neither writing nor walking is sublime fun right now), I realized I'm finally keeping more than I'm putting in "keep-in-case" files. The page counts are terribly unequal (much more in the keep-in-case than the keepable), but the scale is finally tipping the good way.

The thing about a writer's job is that you don't publish if you don't submit, and I haven't been. I can't tell you how the hot, fetid breath of you-must-submit has licked at the back of my neck, but there's not much sense in plying my editor with stuff that doesn't work.

Also, I haven't been able to keep up here because I've felt as if I'm writing about writing, but not succeeding at it. You know--I've felt like a fraud.

But here's a new day, and the other thing about writing is that the only way to fail utterly is stop.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday with Sven

I've been doing Sven's sweating challenge for--I'm not sure how long, but I haven't been checking in. I actually thought today might be the last check-in, so I counted up my words, and I've written 60,132 during the challenge. If it weren't on several different projects, it would be almost a brand new book.

I'm actually a little disappointed because I'm not where I hoped to be, but I'm pleased that I've had mostly steady progress.

Now, to: Focus.

P.S. One more thing to love about an iPod: The headphones are so good that I literally can't hear what my beloved and the girl are heckling each other about. (She's making a scrapbook of her trip as a class assignment, and I'm pretty certain he's offering a heaping helping of invaluable advice!)

I'm such a freaking peacemaker, I feel as if I ought to do something when I spy a tiff.

However, put on a pair of headphones and they start tuning up--and my feeling becomes--I guess they can sort it out. Besides, if I asked what was going on, they'd both look mystified and ask what's wrong. "It's just a conversation!"

Sometimes it's hard to be the quiet introvert in the house! :-)

Friday, January 16, 2009

I had to find my coat

It was 5 degrees yesterday. Probably too cold to type--but I love it! Right now it's 16. And Sunday we're due for snow showers. It's almost too exciting.

My poor child has been out of the country for the past week or so, freezing half to death. I suspect she's been looking forward to the balmy, unseasonable temps she left, when she's actually coming back to a 20 or so degrees colder country than she left behind. Poor girlo. We didn't tell her.

Anyway, I'm hard at work at a coffee shop--again--because the cold apparently slows down the passing of bytes at my house. Better get to work because I have to pick up my baby! Yay!

Hope you also have wonderful goings-on to anticipate!

Monday, January 12, 2009


Had lunch with a good friend today. Now I'm working and listening to inappropriate music. (Ne-yo's Closer. Not that it's inappropriate in general, just not what you'd expect on my generation's iPod.) My daughter despairs. I don't quite get it either, but I cannot help myself! In fact, I need to set up a repeat instead of starting it over and over. :-)

My house is such a wreck I had to leave or haul out the cleaning products. (It's not just the slow Internet that makes posting a blog a forced march.) I need to work, and cleaning is a great time waster, so I've spent this chilly, sun-riddled afternoon writing like a woman who knows how. Please let me be on track--yet again.

Gotta stop stopping progress!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Not sleeping/Crazy Dreams

I've never been what one might call a natural sleeper. I'm often more familiar with the colors of the night sky than the daylight one because I'm often waiting for daylight to show up. But last night was particularly long. If I'm awake, the cat feels free to start yowling for breakfast at midnight, and even though I know he's not starving to death, when he pretends he is, I feel compelled to do something. Which, I fear, he has discovered. (I lasted till 5:03 a.m.) And then, about 8, I went to bed. I'm awake again at noon, having dreamed about running and strange colors and falling.

Stress? The knowledge that my body clock is incapable of telling time? I don't know, but I wander my house like Hamlet's stinking ghost, eyeing the darkened windows in the houses around us, envying all those sleeping people.

Oh, well, gotta get to work. Hopefully, those scary dreams have built up some adrenaline-fueled creativity.

Happy Monday--halfway through the day!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Oh, the weather outside is foggy!

We had some snoring in the house last night. I couldn't manage to sleep over it or get the ocean waves on my iPod loud enough to drown it out, so I moved to the guest room, and this is the view I woke to.

And then I did an accounting. These are things I've already done in 2009:

Crocheted scarf for daughter
Mailed Rita books on time (Though this was actually begun in 2008. Thank you, Mr. Overnight Courier)
Edited chapter (now must shower and leave the abode for Internet access capable of emailing to CP)
Bought Eagle Eye, which I love (to my hip child's despair)
Watched Eagle Eye too many times (I'd alternate with Dark Knight, but said child has absconded with said DVD.)
Noticed that: Je suis une slacker!
Posted on the blog two days in a row (like a woman who can meet a commitment)

I hope everyone's already having an equally productive 2009! I like this year!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Back to Work

I've been playing around with my girl and reading and loving my new iPod. (Dragged, kicking and screaming into the iPod age, I guess, but how on earth did I ever live without it?)

Reading (cozy mysteries, some romance, a lot of history). Writing (not enough). Enjoying friends. Enjoying life. Everyone needs to do that. Tell me it's called filling the well.

But now it's time to ply nose to grindstone.